European Institute for Food Law.

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European Institute for Food Law working paper series.

The European Institute for Food Law started a working paper series on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).
Food Law related papers submitted to the Institute will be considered for inclusion in the series.

Working Paper 2017/03
Gema Fernández Albújar and Bernd van der Meulen, The Legal GMO Concept Reassessment of the GMO Definition in the Light of New Breeding Techniques (NBTs)
What are GMOs in a legal sense? According to the EU definition a GMO is an organism ‘in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination’. Does this definition refer to the organism, to the method by which it has been obtained or to both? This question has become acute with the emergence of New Breeding Techniques (NBTs) in particular when non-traditional methods have been used to achieve results that also could occur naturally. Are such products that could have been obtained by traditional breeding techniques GMOs? The French Conseil d’état has asked a preliminary ruling from the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). Unfortunately, the Conseil d’état failed to clearly phrase the question that needs to be answered. The authors express the hope that the CJEU nevertheless will be able to provide a meaningful answer. They provide an introduction to NBTs and argue in favour of a product based interpretation.


Working Paper 2017/02

Bernd van der Meulen and Ioana Rătescu
, Food Prints on Human Rights Law Paradigms. Debates on food in general and the human right to adequate food in particular have fundamentally influenced the development on human rights theory.
This paper discusses the interaction between the development of legal theory on human rights (HRs) in general and on the right to food in particular.
In international treaties HRs are often subdivided in two groups: civil and political rights (CPRs) on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) on the other. These two sets of rights have been treated in fundamentally different ways. A judicial practice developed only for the application of CPRs. This gave rise to a paradigm in legal theory stating that CPRs give negative obligations to the state (e.g., obligations not to interfere with the freedoms of citizens), while ESCRs give positive obligations (e.g., obligations to provide certain preconditions of life). Negative obligations can be enforced against the state. Positive obligations are unenforceable policy directives.

The UN considers HRs are indivisible. ESCRs should empower people just as much as CPRs do. The special rapporteur on the right to food, Asbjørn Eide, coined a new paradigm to this effect. It connects negative and positive state obligations to all HRs. This paper argues that it is time for the next step in HR theory: a paradigm that moves beyond state obligations.



Working Paper 2017/01
Bernd van der Meulen, Legal Human Rights Research. The Use of Human Rights in Legal Analysis and Use of Legal Methods in Analysing Human Rights. An Introduction.
The legal context may not be the only context in which human rights are applied, but it certainly is an important one. With a view to assessing human rights in the context both of the courtroom and of legal scholarship, this paper sets out some of the basics of law and legal method.